The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that Jefferson County is once again experiencing a substantial level of COVID-19 community spread.

Jefferson County Health Department has received 52 newly reported COVID cases since Tuesday — the most reported since late April — and the county remains under a “Yellow” advisory indicating moderate community spread although there are no group setting outbreaks at this time.

Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday issued his latest executive order of the pandemic urging Hoosiers and visitors to Indiana “take responsibility for their safety and the health and safety of those around them by taking appropriate preventative measures. This is particularly important due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

According to a Jefferson County Health Department release, outdoor activities continue to pose “minimal risk to fully vaccinated people” and most indoor activities pose “low risk to fully vaccinated people, especially in areas with low or moderate transmission.”

However, Jefferson County is experiencing substantial community spread according to the CDC and “infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated even with the Delta variant” but “fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can transmit it to others.”

JCHD now recommends universal indoor masking, regardless of vaccination status, when unable to maintain 6 feet social distancing. In addition, if you are sick, seek testing right away and stay away from others until results are known.

Free testing is available at the Jefferson County Community Testing Site located at King’s Daughters’ Hospital Convenient Care, 445 Clifty Drive, Madison or a COVID test can be scheduled at JCHD, 715 Green Road, Madison, by visiting www.coronavirus.in.gov or calling 812 273-1942.

JCHD is also urging all residents and visitors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations can be scheduled by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov. The health department also accepts walk-ins at the 715 Green Road office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with all three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson — available. Individuals age 12 to 17 must receive the Pfizer vaccine and have an adult present.

With schools reopening in early August, JCHD, the Indiana Department of Health and CDC are recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Likewise, to reduce risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others, the CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission and fully vaccinated people might choose to mask up regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated.

Holcomb’s latest directive provided some numbers to back up his warning with data. He noted that 2.9 million Hoosiers are fully vaccinated out of 5.7 million eligible — a number representing only 51.5% of eligible Hoosiers being vaccinated with 98% of new COVID-19 cases involving unvaccinated individuals.

The governor said although improvements have occurred, “the spread and consequences of this disease in the Hoosier state remain as demonstrated by a 7 -day average positivity rate of 6.3%, which has risen from 2.1% a month ago; new confirmed cases daily; continued hospitalizations; and tragically, continued deaths daily from COVID-19.”

Holcomb added that “unvaccinated individuals are the most at risk for serious illness, hospitalization and death” and “COVID-19 vaccination has proven to provide the single best protection from serious illness and hospitalization caused by the COVID-19 infection.”

However, the governor stopped short of reissuing a mandate for mask wearing in schools and instead left that decision for school corporations.

Indiana has now recorded 771,299 cases of COVID-19 with 13,576 deaths statewide during the pandemic including 3,471 cases in Jefferson County and 87 deaths and 848 cases and eight deaths.

In Switzerland County, though still under a “Blue” advisory status (minimal community spread), Switzerland County Health Officer Dr. Scott Frede said positive cases in Switzerland County are increasing significantly. There have been 27 positive cases of COVID-19 during the month of July, the highest total for the county in the last four months. Frede reported one person hospitalized with severe illness, and noted only one of the cases in July involved someone who had been vaccinated.

The Switzerland County Health Department continues to operate a vaccine clinic but has moved operations from the technology center to the Health Department, 1190 West Main Street, Vevay. Free testing is still available at the health department. The Switzerland County Health Department will hold a vaccination clinic at the Patriot Baptist Church on Thursday, Aug. 5, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments will not be required. They will be giving the Pfizer vaccination for ages 12 and older.

Kentucky has now recorded 481,001 cases of COVID-19 with 7,327 deaths statewide during the pandemic. Trimble County has had 729 cases with seven deaths. Carroll County has had 1,062 cases with 21 deaths.

Kentuckians should visit vaccinemap.ky.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccination site near them.